December 10 2013 Latest news:
Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Monday, October 28, 2013
Max the dog had a “walkies” he will never forget when he tumbled 30-40 feet down a sheer cliff at Happisburgh, sparking a major coastguard rescue.
The eight-year-old Beagle-cross dog landed virtually unscathed on the beach in the dark with an incoming tide, and had to be hauled to safety inside a special “doggy bag.”
The drama began at about 7pm when Terence Woodcock, 74, put Max on his lead and took him for his final walk of the day along the clifftop path at Happisburgh.
Mr Woodcock’s wife, Jean, said a lot of the path had fallen away in recent weeks and Mr Woodcock had suddenly felt the lead go very taught and heavy, and then limp.
When he had pulled the lead in, Max’s collar was still attached - but with no dog inside it.
The couple, from Oakham, in Rutland, were staying in a caravan they own on Happisburgh’s Manor Caravan Park where a neighbour contacted HM Coastguard who arrived at the scene about 15 minutes later.
Team members from Happisburgh and Mundesley, backed by Cromer, set up equipment at the cliff edge allowing them to look over the edge safely.
“We had been calling Max but it was dark. We didn’t know if the tide was in and whether he had drowned,” said Mrs Woodcock, 80.
“The coastguard had all these big lights up. They started calling him and all of a sudden the man said: ‘He’s there’. Max had run to the bottom of the cliff but then he ran away again. The coastguard said: ‘He’s OK. He’s running.’ It was such a relief.”
Mrs Woodcock, who had been preparing for a shower and was in her dressing gown, then went with the coastguard to the beach ramp at Happisburgh to try and reach Max on the sand but they found their way to him cut off by the tide.
Keith Griffin, Happisburgh Coastguard station officer, said the North Norfolk sector manager had then authorised a full cliff rescue.
Two coastguards were lowered down the cliff with Max’s collar, lead and a couple of his favourite dog chews.
“I could hear what was going on via their walkie-talkies,” said Mrs Woodcock. “They eventually got his lead on. Quite a crowd had gathered to see Max brought up. He just jumped out of the bag as if nothing had happened and we all made a fuss of him.
“He’s been utterly spoiled ever since. He slept on the bed, even though he was a bit muddy.”
Apart from a slight limp this morning, which had almost gone after his first walk, Max was unscathed, according to Mrs Woodcock.
The couple have owned Max for about 15 months and said he had been rescued from a house in Spalding where he had been mistreated.
Mrs Woodcock said they would be walking Max further inland in future.
She thanked the “absolutely brilliant” coastguards for their help. As they could not accept a donation, she and her husband would be making one instead to Sea Palling Lifeboat.
Mr Griffin said that, with the tide coming in, Max’s chances on the beach would not have been good. He added: “He’s a very lucky dog.”